Update: Urban Meyer told reporters on Sunday that Stoneburner is now a wide receiver. That answers some wide receiver depth questions for the Buckeyes, but that can't be good for Stoneburner's NFL Draft prospects.
The gang over at Land-Grant Holy Land have identified five Ohio State players who will make or break the season. In order, they are linebacker Ryan Shazier, wide receiver Corey Brown, running back Jordan Hall and quarterback Braxton Miller.
It's an easily agreeable list. it features the top two up-and-coming players, the team's unquestioned captain and perhaps its biggest playmakers on offense. But if that list were pushed out to six players, it would be difficult to leave senior tight end Jake Stoneburner off.
Last season, Stoneburner had just 14 receptions for 193 yards and seven touchdowns. He did that while Miller slowly grew into the quarterback position on an uncertain offense.
Urban Meyer's offense has always required playmakers. Whether it was Percy Harvin, Chris Rainey or Chris Demps, Meyer's offenses at Florida had sure-thing home run threats. Brown and Hall can be playmakers, but Stoneburner can be the player who expedites Miller's development.
At Florida in 2009, tight end Aaron Hernandez had 68 receptions for 850 yards and five touchdowns. Although it's not a stellar statline, he never had fewer than three receptions in a game that season. If Stoneburner can do the same, he'd finish the year with more than twice as many receptions than he had last year.
Stoneburner, who was named to the Mackey Award watch list, also has the athleticism to line up anywhere in Meyer's spread offense. He's a versatile weapon, as long as he's used properly. If he is, he could be a difference maker for the Buckeyes this season.
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